Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage today to announce the much-anticipated iPhone 5. This model is going to be the company's first with 4G LTE, and the size of the touchscreen is increasing as well. Many features are getting enhancements.
As had been widely rumored, this model will have a 4-inch display, up from the 3.5-inch one on all previous smartphones from this company. Its 1135 x 640 resolution will give it a pixel density of 326 ppi, easily qualifying if for the "Retina" designation -- meaning its pixels are too small to been seen when held at a typical distance.
The additional length is going to give room for five rows of icons on the home screen, instead of just four. And the calendar will be able to show all five days of the work week at once.
Apple has modified all its apps to take advantage of the new screen resolution, and is encouraging developers to do the same. In the mean time, older third-party apps will run letter-boxed, with black bars on either side.
This change is being seen as Apple's response to competitive pressure. Many Android-based smartphones have large displays -- the popular Samsung Galaxy S III has a 4.8-inch one.
Confirming another widely-reported rumor, the iPhone 5 is going to offer 4G LTE. This will bring faster wireless connections on Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. A number of other carriers around the world with LTE networks will also be able to offer 4G service for this smartphone.
In places without LTE, of course this smartphone will still include 3G service.
The iPhone 4S was sometimes criticized for not having LTE. In the past year, this 4G technology has become mainstream on Android-based handsets.
Apple's next smartphone is going to run iOS 6 on a A6 processor, which the company says will offer twice that CPU speed and twice the graphics performance of the one used in the iPhone 4S. This translates to the Pages app opening more than twice as fast, while loading the Music app with songs will be 1.9 times faster.
The A6 chip is going to be smaller than its predecessor while also being more energy efficient.
For more information on iO6, including the new features coming to the iPhone 5,?check this article: Apple iOS 6 Upgrade Set to Release Sept. 19
Longer Battery Life
There have been questions about the battery life of the sixth-generation iPhone, as the larger display, LTE, and faster processor can be major drains. However, Phil Schiller, Apple's head of product marketing, took to the stage today to promise that the iPhone 5 will go longer on a single charge than its predecessor.
He said that the device would be up to 8 hours of web browsing on LTE or 10 hours on Wi-Fi. Or it will be able to handle 10 hours of video or 40 hours of music playback.
It?will have an 8 MP camera (3264 x 2448 pixels), the same resolution as the one in the previous-generation model. Among its highlights will be a dynamic low-light mode to provide better images in dim surroundings, as well as 40% faster image capture.
The A6 processor is going to be able to do some pre-processing that will reduce "noise" in pictures. And a panorama mode has been added to the camera app.
The camera will be up to recording 1080p video, while also taking pictures at the same time. There will be face detection, and improved stabilization while recording.
The front-facing camera, which has been designed mostly for FaceTime video conferencing, is going to be capable of 720p, and it will also have face detection.
The iPhone 5 is going to have three microphones -- front, bottom, and back -- designed to let the device cancel out ambient noise and let Siri better understand voice commands.
The built-in speaker has also been improved.
New Dock Connector
A change that?some might?be less happy about is the re-designed Dock Connector. Dubbed "Lightning", it will have 8 pins instead of 30 like its
Happily for those?who already have accessories, Apple is going to offer an adapter?from the old version to the new ($30, coming in October).
This design change is part of making the iPhone 5 slimmer -- it?will be 18% thinner and 20% lighter. Overall, the handset will be 4.9 by 2.3 x 0.3 inches and 4 ozs (124 x 59 x 7 mm and 112 g).
One of the few areas where the rumormill was incorrect was NFC (Near Field Communications). The iPhone 5 will not have this technology, which is appearing in many of its rivals' devices and being used for digital wallets.
Price and Availability
The Apple iPhone 5 is going to hit store shelves on Sept. 21, and can be pre-ordered starting this Friday, Sept. 14. There will be three versions: a 16GB one will sell for $200 with the standard two-year contract, the 32GB version will be $300, while the 64GB model will be $400.
The previous models from Apple are getting a price cut. The iPhone 4 is now free with contract and last year's iPhone 4S with 16GB of storage is $100 with contract.